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  • Russian anti-war protester defies court trying her for discrediting the army

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    MOSCOW (Reuters) – A former state TV journalist charged with discrediting Russia’s armed forces by protesting against Moscow’s actions in Ukraine told a court on Thursday that the charge against her was absurd.

    Marina Ovsyannikova defiantly repeated her protest and said she would not retract her words.

    “What’s going on here is absurd,” Ovsyannikova told the court. “War is horror, blood and shame.”

    Ovsyannikova gained international attention in March after bursting into a studio of Russian state TV, her then employer, to denounce the Ukraine war during a live news bulletin. At the time she was fined for flouting protest laws.

    She is now being tried over subsequent social media posts in which she wrote that those responsible for Russia’s actions in Ukraine would find themselves in the dock before an international tribunal.

    She faces up to 15 years in jail for discrediting the armed forces under a law passed in March, soon after President Vladimir Putin launched what he calls his “special military operation” against Ukraine.

    Addressing the court, Ovsyannikova said she did not understand why she was there and what she was being judged for.

    “Your accusations are like accusing me of spreading monkeypox,” she said. “The purpose of the trial is to intimidate all the people who oppose the war in the Russian Federation.”

    She described Russia as an aggressor country, saying: “The beginning of this war is the biggest crime of our government.”

    A lawyer for Ovsyannikova said she had the right to speak out under Article 29 of the Russian constitution which protects the right to freedom of expression.

    (Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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